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Thai students in the UK – embassy knows best

Melanie Butler investigates the country’s secret to picking great language centres in Britain and keeping its students happy

The Royal Thai Government Office of Educational Affairs (OEA) has been looking after Thai students studying abroad for over a hundred years, and its expertise is second to none. The legendary Julia Plaistowe, senior adviser to the UK (OEA) team based at the Thai embassy in London, has decades of experience and unerring skill at picking great language centres.

Take, for example, the EL Gazette’s Centres of Excellence – the ranking of the top 10 per cent of language centres based on the British Council inspectors’ publishable statements. The Thai team began working with many of these centres years before the Gazette put together the rankings, and indeed before the British Council published the statements at all.

Asked the secret to picking a good school, Julia told the Gazette, ‘Look for a school that takes a genuine interest in

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The life cycle of a Clil teacher

Trainer and author Kay Bentley tells Melanie Butler how a primary teacher with ELT training metamorphised into a Clil specialist

Kay Bentley has a degree in English and the Scots language and started out as a primary teacher. Her early career included teaching primary French, which she maintains influenced the way she thinks about Clil.

‘I had a Scottish higher qualification in French, and I collaborated with

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Seeing the sense in grammar

As methodologist Jim Scrivener launches his new student grammar, the Gazette asks how his experience as a trainer, teacher and language learner helped shape the book

You've written a grammar book for students – but you're a teacher and trainer rather than a grammarian. So are you a good language learner?
I'm actually a very poor language learner. There seems to be a fairly widespread assumption that language teachers must be good language learners. Well in my case I have always struggled. I think that this may actually be quite helpful for a teacher (and a writer) in that I can see more clearly what kind of problems a learner might be having and can empathise with the ones who are struggling, not just with the fast, successful students.

In a world where corpus linguistics has changed the face of grammar, do you worry about not being an 'expert'?
A little, but I think

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Built on firm family foundations

As a third generation of Lindsays joins St Giles International, Melanie Butler asks founding father Paul about his sixty-year career in English language teaching.

I always think of you as one of the founding fathers of British EFL – the first St Giles school was opened in 1955. What inspired you to set up a language school?

I first became involved in English language teaching in 1953. I was a struggling teacher of English and French at a polytechnic, and I got a summer job at a

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